How to Protect Your Home and Family From the Zika Virus
When reports on the Zika Virus began dominating the news this past spring and summer, there was understandably cause for concern. The virus was spreading fast and there were more and more reported cases every day. Months later, the problem has become even more widespread than experts had predicted, and that’s left a lot of people scared.
The Zika Virus is a serious concern, particularly for pregnant women. As professionals that battle mosquitoes for a living, we often get asked about the Zika Virus and mosquito prevention. Below, we will answer your most common questions about the Zika Virus and how to prevent mosquitoes in your yard this summer and fall!
Q: What is the Zika Virus?
A: The Zika Virus is a virus that is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common type of mosquito that carries the Zika Virus is the Aedes species. The Zika Virus is a flu-like virus that is generally mild but could cause potential birth defects for pregnant women.
Q: Where do mosquitoes that carry the Zika Virus live?
A: Mosquitoes that have the Zika Virus mostly live in Central and South America, as well as parts of Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. There have been recent reports of local transmission in Florida--meaning mosquitoes here carry the virus as well. As of November 2016, there are over 4,115 travel-related cases and 139 locally acquired cases reported in the U.S.
Q: Can I contract the virus here in the U.S.?
A: Yes. Although as of right now, local transmission has only been reported in Florida, it’s still possible for it to spread to other states as well. Not only that, but the virus can also be transmitted from person to person. If someone travels to a country where mosquitoes carry the virus, get bit, and then travel home, they could then pass the virus on to other people. The virus can be transmitted in the following ways:
- Aedes Mosquito that bites you after biting an infected person.
- Mother to child during pregnancy.
- Through sexual contact.
- Through blood transfusions.
Q: What are the symptoms of the Zika Virus?
A: This is the scariest part about the virus: most of the people that have the Zika Virus don’t even know they carry the disease. This is because oftentimes people do not display noticeable symptoms. The most common symptoms of the Zika Virus are fever, rash, red eyes, muscle pain, and joint pain. These symptoms will usually last up to a week.
Q: Those symptoms don’t sound terrible. Why are people so worried?
A: The Zika Virus can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to the fetus inside her womb. When this happens, the baby can be born with microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect, and babies born with this condition will have an abnormally small head. Babies born with microcephaly will also have speech impediments, mental disabilities, and can suffer from seizures.
Q: Is there a cure?
A: Treatment for people with the Zika Virus includes getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of water, and taking medicine like Tylenol to help with the fever and pain. Unfortunately, there is no cure for babies born with microcephaly.
Q: What can I do to protect my home and family from the Zika Virus?
A: Until the CDC finds a way to control this virus, it would be best not to travel to the areas of the world where the Zika Virus is very prevalent--including South America, and even Florida. If you do have to travel to these areas, be sure to take the necessary precautions. Here are five ways to prevent mosquito bites:
- Wear long clothes. We know that this will be an annoyance in the summer when it’s warm out, but wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants will help stop mosquitoes from biting your skin. Something very helpful with the heat, too, is to set up strong fans, and direct them towards work and play areas. Mosquitoes are not strong fliers, and the fans stir your exhaled CO2, so you are less detectable.
- Use mosquito repellent. Whenever you go outside, be sure to wear mosquito repellent. Also, buy citronella candles and light them if you are spending time outside. If you have a BBQ or outdoor party, encourage people to put on bug spray, and light as many citronella candles as you have!
- Eliminate standing water. This is a big one. Mosquitoes are drawn to standing water. This is where they lay their eggs and begin their life cycle. Without standing water, a mosquito will not be able to reproduce. Check your yard for wet areas and see if you can drain them. Think pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, trash cans, anything that could collect rainwater, etc.
- Trim vegetation. When mosquitoes aren’t looking to bite you, they’re resting in tall grass, shrubs, or bushes--this is where they avoid the afternoon heat. If you have a lot of vegetation in your yard, particularly around the perimeter of your house, cut it back. It will also help if you don’t let your grass get too long.
- Employ professional treatments. Professional treatments are your best line of defense against mosquitoes. While repellents and precautionary measures work to prevent bites, they won’t kill off an existing mosquito population. Destroying the population is the only way to eliminate them from your yard. Recurring, monthly treatments are the best way to ensure the best long-term relief and protection.
Save $50 on a Mosquito Treatment in the Triad
If you’re worried about mosquitoes harming your family, the best thing you can do is treat your yard on a monthly basis to add an extra layer of security. Here at Terminix Triad, we offer highly effective mosquito treatments that will help control the local mosquito population in your yard. We’ll even give you $50 off your first mosquito treatment so you don’t have to break the bank to protect your loved ones.
Are You a Current Customer?
If you are a current customer of Terminix, we will inspect and survey your property at no cost to you with a recommendation for treatment and prevention. Our mosquito treatments are continued seasonally each year - on a monthly basis - to keep your backyard space as comfortable as possible.